Author: Melanie Dunn

Crazy Award Goes to Me!

I wanted my contributions to this blog to be somewhat professional.  After all, we’re CTworkingmoms.  But being the hormonal mess that I am, that’s all gone to crap, it seems. Some explanation is in order.  I am getting bloodwork done this week that will hopefully confirm whether I have hypothyroidism, a condition that causes depression, mood swings, weight gain, and a host of other symptoms.  At first, I was hoping not to have this health problem, and that whatever’s wrong with me can be fixed with some minor lifestyle changes.  But now, I feel like the crazy has reached new heights.  If my thyroid turns out to be fine, I don’t know what I’m going to do, because then I won’t have an explanation and I’ll be back at square one trying to fix what’s wrong with me. I don’t know why I’m so angry all the time.  Not all the time.  The rest of the time, I’m just numb.  I miss the normal, friendly person I used to be.  There’s a trace of that person left, but it’s being overshadowed by whatever this new persona is.  I’m moody and sensitive about EVERYTHING.  I can’t even take a weird look from a person in the grocery store, which probably has absolutely nothing to do with me, without bursting out in tears. A few of you have suggested recently that...

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Professional Organizations: Do Working Moms Need to Drop Out?

When I was in college, I put my name on a list to volunteer working with children at a domestic violence shelter. It was the kind of problem that pulled at my heartstrings and the kind of issues I knew I wanted to be involved with. It would have been a great opportunity … for something. I just knew it was something good to do, for myself and others, and that it was therefore a worthwhile activity. And then school started, and life got crazy, and getting out of bed for an 11:00 a.m. class became difficult due to going to bed at around 5:00 a.m. I just couldn’t do the volunteering. In fact, I had never started. By the time the group organizing the activity reached my name on the list, and left me a nice voicemail assigning me a date to show up at the shelter, I just couldn’t do it. But I had ducked my head in the sand, hoping the problem would somehow resolve itself, despite the daily warning signs that I was struggling just to get my coursework done well and on time, let alone all the other extracurricular stuff I had piled on my plate (in addition to working a fulltime job while attending my highfalutin liberal arts college … but that is a story for another day). I left a voicemail for...

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You Might Have Prenatal Depression If …

I kicked a laundry basket across the nursery yesterday. It slammed into the wall and the handle broke off. That’s too bad, because I really liked that laundry basket. That’s the second time I have damaged an object in my house from throwing or kicking it out of anger. The first time happened when I was mad at my husband. I don’t remember why I was mad. I was not pregnant at the time. The second time happened when I was mad at all the crap lying around the house and how desperately I just wanted to clean the house and take a shower, but found myself alone and helpless with a toddler. And pregnant this time. So, I don’t know if it’s just pregnancy hormones, or just me, or a bit of both. I took my daughter to my mother’s house shortly after breaking the laundry basket. I didn’t want her to be around to see any more of that, or for her to be in the path of harm in case of more flying objects. I hate being this way. As stated above, I really don’t know if it’s the pregnancy, or what seems like my lifelong predisposition toward depression and anger issues, or both. I hate not knowing, too. And I hate most of all feeling like there is absolutely nothing I can do about it....

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Five Reasons Why Your Parenting Blog is Terrible (and What to Do About It)

Have you all read my latest post about lawyer moms and billable hours? No? Good. Because it’s awful. It’s definitely the worst writing I’ve posted on this blog, and probably right down there with some of the worst writing I’ve ever done, period. It’s not quite as bad as one of the essays I wrote for my college applications when I was a high school senior. But back then, I was 17. I am now 32, rely heavily on writing and communication skills generally in my career, and I have no excuse except that I was tired and trying to get a post out on time for the blog. But see, it kills me, because I have been wanting to write that post about billable hours for a long time now. I had the idea germinating in my head for quite a while, and I couldn’t think of anything to write and was pressed for time (kind of like right now). So I decided to write it, even though I didn’t have the time and energy to write well and make the topic interesting to my intended audience. Writing is very, very important to me, and I take it really seriously. You should too. Whenever you write something that is intended to be read by the public … whether it’s a blog post, an interoffice memorandum, or an email...

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Lawyer Moms and the Billable Hours Requirement

I apologize in advance for what may seem like a post geared toward a limited audience. But as a lawyer who is both a mom and interested in the legal workplace and careers in general, I will feel compelled from time to time to talk about mothering in the context of lawyering, as well as lawyering in the context of mothering. And if you’re not a lawyer, I hope that you are nevertheless able to generalize some of this stuff to your own career or workplace. Most firms have an annual billable hours requirement that hovers in the vicinity of 1800 hours for small to mid-sized firms. I’ve never been quite sure whether “requirement” means YOU WILL BE FIRED FOR NOT MEETING 1800 HOURS, or if it’s more like “well it’s not good if you don’t make it, but we’ll kind of look the other way for a while, maybe your bonus will be impacted, maybe it won’t.” I should also explain, for the uninitiated, that a “billable hour” is time that can, at least in theory, be charged to a client. So let’s say you put in ten hours at the office. Let’s say one hour is taken up by running to Starbucks, chatting with your friend in the hallway, shopping online since there’s no kids around to distract you, and calling the salon to reschedule your hair...

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